Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Life after RAGE

After graduating in May, I continued to work on-campus in an advising office and and on the Blue & Gold Yearbook staff. In June we finished final proofing of the 2009 edition, which actually includes a spread on Ed190!
In August, I started a new position as a research assistant at a research firm here in Berkeley. The company specializes in education research, including evaluation and policy analysis in all areas of the education pipeline: K-12, transition to college/career, postsecondary, etc. with the goal of improving current policy, promoting best practices, and expanding educational access for youth and adults.

It's been a valuable experience thus far, especially learning more about education policy and delving more into the research/literature. I'm currently helping with a project to assist California with its application for the "Race to the Top" stimulus funds, as well as quantitative analysis for the 2010 Broad Prize for Urban Education. The Broad Prize is an annual award that honors the urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among low-income and minority students. The work that these districts are doing is really inspiring. (link:

My work and outlook have been consistently informed by Ed190, and I am incredibly inspired by the diverse work that Ed190 alumni are doing -- it's so clear that this course has impacted us; that there is a strength in this community that inspires how we live our lives and work toward change.

There is a growing community of educators, administrators, parents, non-profits, politicians... all around this country working toward these aims. I hope we all continue to be a part of this discourse and movement :D

- Caitlin Green
RAGE: Rebuilding a Greater Education
Class of 2009

P.S. A few links I can't help but share:

"Teach Your Teachers Well"

"The Value of Negative Learning: How Traditional Education Can Produce Nontraditional Educators"


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Democratic (Music) Education

When I stepped into the Ed 190 classroom for the first time my senior year, I was reluctant. It had taken me six years to get to my fourth year of college. Along the way I had experienced a great deal of change: I dropped out, and feeling indifferent about my education I worked instead of going to school. Being in school at Berkeley wore me out; I simply was not mentally nor physically able to continue. As turbulent and trying as that time was, that was also when I began to question and drastically change my thoughts on what I wanted to do.

I had previously been undeclared intending to major in Political Science or Economics, but as soon as I left Berkeley I began thinking about what truly mattered. During that time off, I began to take a few junior college classes in music and I began to coach swimming, working with kids again—two things that I had always been passionately involved in, but which had long since fallen by the wayside.

Upon returning to Berkeley the second time around, I had so many questions about what education had done to me, what education should mean to me, and what education could do for me. Stepping into Ed 190 for the first time, I was apprehensive because I had all these questions, but I did not feel like anyone would be able to relate or understand where I was coming from.

Now, having been an Ed 190 student in Fall 2008 and then returning to help facilitate in Spring 2009, I can say that Ed 190 only served to reinforce the importance of my previous educational experiences. I learned to value the unique educational experiences that I had—including dropping out—while simultaneously valuing the wealth of experiences that were shared through the many members of our Ed 190 community. I was able to experience democratic education firsthand, and learned what it means to be empowered through education; what it means to truly seek after what we want to learn; taking ownership of our education.

This understanding and newfound responsibility, led me down a two-year path (after returning to Berkeley) to graduate this last Summer 2009 with a major in Music. I plan on returning to school within the year to pursue a graduate degree in Music Education. However, in the meantime I have started to work in several local schools. I teach afterschool 4th and 5th grade band at Stewart Elementary School in Pinole, I teach a music theory course in Pinole Valley High School’s afterschool Conservatory of the Arts, and I help direct the marching bands/drumlines at Hercules Middle High School and Salesian High School (in Richmond).

The ideas that I learned and gained through Education 190 have begun to manifest themselves in the classrooms I work in, particularly at Salesian High School. This year, the school made a push to start a marching band. I have begun working with the students that are essentially the “founders” of this new organization on campus. Because of the current economic climate however, the school is not able to provide us with any funding at all. That being the case, I made sure to be transparent with the students, letting them know the enormity and challenge of the task at hand. In the last few months that we have met, we have begun to create plans of action to raise money for marching drum equipment (which the school does not have), while simultaneously establishing ourselves as a spirit and musical organization on campus.

I am tremendously proud to report that the students’ efforts have helped us raise a surprisingly unexpected sum of money. With this money that the students were able to raise, we are now in the process of purchasing all the drum equipment we need. I firmly believe that this was made possible because of the ownership the students took of what was at first a seemingly enormous challenge. Not only will we now be able to start performing and helping build school spirit, but because of their responsibility in this undertaking, I know that this group has a firm foundation with which to sustain itself.

I hope that these opportunities will continue to present themselves as I explore democratic music education throughout my career. They have created a great sense of fulfillment in my life, and I truly believed that Education 190 helped create these possibilities.

-Ian Heung
Project C.H.A.O.S. (Choosing to Have An Original System)
Class of 2009

I love Ed 190

Ed 190 has transformed my life. From the moment I walked into the classroom on the first
day of spring semester my sophomore year, 2007, until this very moment that I reflect on how this educational experience has shaped my life, Ed 190 has given me the space to create and fulfill dreams beyond which I ever thought possible. Ed 190 has given me the courage to fully express myself as a leader, a learner, and an educator. It has provided me the space to truly find my voice and embrace my passion to change the world through education. Through my incredible interactions with hundreds of diverse UC Berkeley students from all walks of life, I have engaged in meaningful conversations that have already and will continue to create world change. During the three years that I facilitated the course as well as the semester that I first took the class as a student, the forty individuals that stepped foot into the classroom on the first day of class all left the course on the last day as one community, changed and inspired forever. The incredible conversations, life-long friendships, community projects, and strengthened passion that we experienced together within the walls of Ed 190 have never and will never be forgotten; in fact, the relationships and dialogue continue to expand and expand and expand. We are creating a movement. We are creating a movement to transform the education system so that students are not limited by the system but rather work together to create the system for themselves. We are creating a movement where students share their experiences, create strong connections, and leave completely and utterly motivated to make a difference in the world. We are building a community of critical thinkers, intellectual educators, and passionate leaders. We are seeking to provide this incredible educational opportunity for students across the country and around the world, so that transformation can happen everywhere and students can find their voice and share their passion through community. Ed 190 does not transform people, but rather provides a comfortable and safe space for transformation to happen on its own. In this space, all voices are listened to and respected and all people are loved and appreciated. Ed 190 is the source of community. It has given me access to finding my voice and embracing my passion to positively impact children through education. I now, six months after graduating UC Berkeley, am continuing to use the Ed 190 pedagogy and experiences to make an impact in young children’s lives. I am the first pre-kindergarten Teach for America teacher to create a full-day preschool program in an elementary school in San Francisco Unified School District. I educate my 4-year-olds with love and compassion, in the same way that I taught my students in Ed 190. The personal development and intellectual growth that I experienced within the Ed 190 classroom have impacted me in a way that extends beyond that which I can explain. Ed 190 provided me the opportunity to learn how to create a space for my children to learn and grow at their fullest potential. I walk into my classroom everyday, happier than the day before because I believe in my children more than I believe in myself. I now see the true value that education can and does have for children and their families, and am committed to creating a system that provides this type of quality education for all. Ed 190 has inspired me to believe that education is the answer to a better future, a better tomorrow. We just need to make it happen. And we are doing it now…

-Ilana Nankin
Class of 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

...after ed190

I am currently working at a biopharmaceutical in San Francisco. I love being there, but I know that this is merely temporary as my true passion still lies as an educator. Being present to this fact provides me so much strength with my current standing in life, and what is to come. From my constant glances at my cubicle walls containing inspiring quotes from my fellow students to the support given and received from every member in my neurology team, ed190 never leaves my thoughts. Never do I have a doubt about my future abilities to teach my students...or whether or not I will become a teacher at all. That is what ed190 has given me. That knowledge that my potential is limitless. This is the stand I will take for every student I interact with. And for that, I am forever grateful to the Ed190 space.

-Kim Nguyen
The Transformers: We are all Goldfish
Class of 2007

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Welcome to ED 190 Online!

We can't wait hear how you are bringing the principles of ED 190 into your lives! E-mail us your post at